Bicyclist Diversion Programs Around Arizona

In several jurisdictions around Arizona, bicyclists who are cited for an infraction can have their tickets dismissed by attending a bicyclist safety class. This is a win-win: the fines are either much lower (or none at all?!), and the bicyclist gets exposed to a training course. Various limitations apply, generally you can have no more than one ticket per year dismissed in this way.

Unlike the Defensive Driver Program (DDP. Discussed more later), which is enabled by statute, these bicyclist-specific programs are completely ad-hoc, and the rules and red-tape are very flexible and minimal. Here are the programs currently available in Arizona:

which seem to be run out of the courts exclusively, and in fact the city attorney’s office tells me they have nothing whatsoever to do with civil traffic. This costs $40 + $15, much cheaper than paying the ticket but still fairly pricey. The class is given by the ASU police at ASU; but applies anywhere in Tempe.

City of Tucson www.tucsonaz.gov/prosecutor/Diversion/diversion.html and scroll down to BIKE SAFETY DIVERSION PROGRAM “the City Prosecutor’s Office will dismiss a cyclist’s civil traffic citation…” This is apparently FREE(!? no court fees, no class fee)

UofA and Pima County: jp.co.pima.az.us/BikeDiversionProgram.htm “you may be eligible to attend the County Attorney’s Bicycle Diversion Program” This is apparently FREE(!? no court fees, no class fee). By the way, I don’t know the ins-and-outs but apparently the UofA campus falls under county jurisdiction for some reason.

Both of the Tucson and Pima ones seem to run completely out of the respective prosecutor’s office, as opposed to, say, Tempe where it is run via the municipal court. Here is a flyer with some general info from the Pima Co. Bike Ped program.

Note that the Defensive Driving Program is overseen by the Arizona Supreme Court; and is enabled by specific legislation, see Title 28, Article 7, 28-3391 through 3399. Although clearly aimed and intended for motorists, there’s nothing inherent in the legislation that restricts it; though because of the incentives involved, it is not attractive to bicyclists who have been cited.  This program is an industry unto itself and there’s a whole bunch of red-tape and administrivia involved.

See also do-points-apply-to-bicyclists for a controversy about whether or not driver’s license points can be applied to a person (who has a license) for an infraction incurred while riding a bicycle.

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